Sobro Cafe on College Avenue is latest business to close along Red Line

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Another restaurant off of College Avenue has closed, and the owner believes the Red Line may have led to a drop in customers.

Sobro Cafe is just one of more than five establishments along College Avenue to close its doors within the last year.

Helge Oomkes, the owner of Sobro Cafe, said business took a hit when Blue Indy cars took up available parking spots right in front of his restaurant.

He thinks the Red Line also made it harder for customers to get to his front door.

“We had a great run for a good five or six years,” he said. “Business has its cycle.”

Oomkes began operating the business more than eight years ago. He said several factors led to this decision. He thinks Blue Indy and the Red Line did not help business.

“The impact [of the Red Line] is less than what Blue Indy was, but if you have a wound and all of a sudden you get one more punch in that wound, you are like, ‘Okay,'” said Oomkes.

He believes fewer parking spots and changes to traffic patterns made it harder for people to get to his business, so they stopped going.

Some residents said they now try to avoid College Avenue.

“I will drive four times as far to go to the CVS that is part of Target over off Keystone ’cause I can just pull up, park in Target’s parking lot,” said Nathan Geise, a Broad Ripple resident.

Geise said it is still stressful to drive around College Avenue despite construction being finished.

“There are quite a few [places] I have stopped going to entirely because of the inconvenience of parking and getting around,” he said.

Just around the corner from Sobro Cafe was Taste, which closed in September. Oomkes believes if Blue Indy and the Red Line were not here, Sobro Cafe would still be open.

A spokesperson from IndyGo sent us the following statement:

IndyGo understands the construction process can be very difficult for businesses and during the Red Line construction we worked with business for additional advertising and awareness. We will continue to increase those efforts as we move forward with future projects to help curb construction impact. While it is unfortunate that some business are closing their doors we have heard of multiple businesses who’ve seen different results and several new businesses along the corridor.

“It is not like it ever picked up when it opened,” Oomkes said.

There is at least one business that has opened recently along College Avenue. It is called Prufrock Coffee Company and is around the corner from Sobro Cafe.

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